December 2, 2023
But what smells do they like?What Smells Do Guinea Pigs Love?

What Smells Do Guinea Pigs Love?

Guinea pigs are very sensitive creatures. But what smells do they like?

Turns out they prefer many different scents. And yes, they have a very strong sense of smell. In general, guinea pigs love the scent of familiar places and the food they eat. They love the smell of hay, fruits, and vegetables and their partners and owners.

On the contrary, they hate smells that make them allergic. So onions, garlic, and essential oils are out of the question.

So, which smells do guinea pigs like, and which ones do they hate? Here’s our ultimate guinea pig smell guide.

Smells Guinea Pigs Love The Most?

What smells are guinea pigs fond of? Here are a few of their favorite smells:

1.    Hay:

Guinea pigs love eating hay. As such, they also love the smell of hay. Whenever they smell the hay, they get excited. Of course, it would be much better for them to eat the hay too. In general, most food that guinea pigs love to eat also makes up for their favorite scents.

2.    Fruits And Vegetables:

Like hay, guinea pigs love the smell of fruits and vegetables. But this is only true for the fruits and veggies that they prefer to eat. They won’t like its smell if it’s an item they don’t want to and shouldn’t eat. Onions are good examples of what veggie smells you should avoid. Garlic is another great example.

3.    Cage Mates:

Guinea pigs love the scent of their cage mates. The scent entices them and helps them find their way home if they get lost.

4.    Old Beddings:

Guinea pigs are also fond of the smell of old beddings that they used to live in. Hence, do not throw out your old bedding when doing a cage transfer unless necessary. Changing their bedding or washing it may distress them.

5.    Chew Sticks:

You know you expected this to be on the list. Guinea pigs love chewing. Hence, they love the smell of chewing sticks. Which smell they are attracted to exactly will depend. Some may like the smell of apple sticks, while others prefer willow sticks.

6.    Owners:

And, of course, your guinea pig loves the smell of you. They love everything about you: your scent, your sight, your warmth, and love and care.

What Smells Do Guinea Pigs Dislike:

Now that you know what guinea pigs love to smell, here are 10 smells they hate:

1.    Onions:

This is no surprise. Onions are extremely toxic to guinea pigs when ingested. And the smell is no exception. The smell is not only unpleasant but can also be toxic. Hence, it’s best to avoid the smell of onions.

2.    Other Pets:

Guinea pigs are naturally prey. Hence, they feel stressed out when in the presence of other pets. Even if your pets are friendly, their sight or scent can agitate a guinea pig.

3.    Scented Candles:

Guinea pigs hate perfume and perfumed items. These scents do not please them. Not only that, but these scents are highly toxic and may cause allergic reactions and respiratory illnesses. Not all scents will cause this effect. But you shouldn’t take your chances and avoid burning scented candles, even natural ones.

4.    Perfumes And Colognes:

Like with scented candles, you should avoid perfumes, colognes, and room fresheners. These scents are not only upsetting as the aroma is too strong, but they may be dangerous. You never know what’s in the scent that could harm your guinea pig.

5.    Essential Oils:

Essential oils are oils extracted for their fragrance. They form the basis of perfumes and scented items. Hence, pure essential oils or any derivative thereof is strictly prohibited for guinea pigs.

6.    Garlic:

Humans are not the only ones that hate the smell of garlic. But garlic isn’t just disliked by guinea pigs. It can even be dangerous to your piggie’s health. And don’t even consider feeding them garlic.

7.    Kitchen Fumes:

Fumes from the kitchen are not healthy for your guinea pig. Several ingredients go into human food that is not suitable for guinea pigs. Onions and garlic are two of the best examples.

8.    Floor Cleaners:

Floor cleaners have strong chemicals that create very pungent smells. These smells cause respiratory issues in humans and guinea pigs. So, avoid using floor cleaners near them, at least not those with strong chemical smells.

9.    Laundry Detergent:

Laundry detergent, like floor cleaners, has a powerful scent that is not pleasing to humans or guinea pigs. Avoid keeping your piggies near fresh laundry or laundry machines. And never use detergent to wash them.

10.  Smells They Are Allergic To:

Finally, any specific smell your guinea pig is allergic to will cause respiratory issues. Avoid these scents at all costs and rush to the vet if your piggy is around these scents.

What Scents Are Harmful To Guinea Pigs?

Some scents are especially harmful to guinea pigs. These include:

1.    Scented Candles:

What’s so bad about a scented candle? After all, the scent is very pleasing to the human senses. Well, scented candles have a very strong aroma. This aroma can agitate your guinea pig. Additionally, the scent may contain ingredients that are not ideal for your piggy.

2.    Essential Oils:

Just like scented candles, essential oils, or anything that uses them will harm your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs hate strong scents. And if the oil is derived from something they’re allergic to, you should keep it away from them.

3.    Perfume And Cologne:

Avoid spraying perfume, cologne, and room freshener around guinea pigs. These scents can very easily cause allergies and agitation.


Can I Put Perfume On My Guinea Pig?

No. Do not put perfume on your guinea pig. Not only is it completely unnecessary, the strong fumes will harm your piggy’s respiratory system. If the perfume contains any ingredients they’re allergic to; the situation can even be fatal.

Can Guinea Pigs Smell Lavender?

Yes, the smell of lavender is quite calming to guinea pigs. Lavender flowers are safe for consumption by guinea pigs. Ensure that the scent comes from natural lavender flowers and is given in moderation. Perfumes and essential oils will no doubt irritate the guinea pig.

Can Guinea Pigs Smell Peppermint?

It’s not recommended to have them smell peppermint. The scent is often used to deter mice and other pests. So, it will also agitate guinea pigs.


Guinea pigs require a lot of tender loving care. As such, you must check what aromas you introduce into their environments.

To summarise, guinea pigs love the smell of the food they eat. Fresh green veggies and hay will always attract cavies. And they hate scents that make them allergic, like onions, garlic, and perfumes.

Additionally, guinea pigs may experience poisoning by inhaling certain perfumes such as tea tree oil. But some they can withstand, like lavender.

Hence, find out what scents please your guinea pigs and include them in their environment!

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